This page contains educational materials that are available to the public, as well as links to relevant and applicable media and materials

Featured native animal of the month

California Quail- Callipepla Californica

The California Quail, also known as the Valley Quail is a small ground dwelling bird. They are distinguished by their curving crest of plume, made of sex feathers that droops forward. Males have a dark brown cap and black face with a brown back, a grey blue chest and a light brown belly. Females and immature birds are generally grey brown with a light colored belly.

The quail is a very sociable bird that often gathers in small flocks known as “coveys”. They are year round residents and are often found forging on the sides of roads. Their diet consists mostly of seeds and leaves, but they also eat some berries and insects. If startled they explode into short distance flights, but given the option they prefer to flee on foot.

Quail generally breed in shrubby areas and open woodlands in shallow scrape lined nests with vegetation on the ground beneath a shrub or other cover. Females usually lay about 12 eggs, and once hatched the babies associate with both adults. Families commonly group together into multifamily “communal broods” with at least two females and multiple males along with many offspring. Males associated with the families are not always the genetic fathers, females may have multiple broods with other associated males.

They communicate with a variety of noises including the social “Chicago” call, contact “pips” and warning “pips”.

The California Quail is California’s state bird dating back to 1932. The quail population has fluctuated significantly through California. Once plentiful in San Francisco, their numbers fell to just 1 in 2017. Quail are generally found in the southwestern United States, but have been introduced to other areas including British Columbia, Hawaii, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, South Africa, and Australia. Quail were likely introduced to the United States about 12,000 years ago by native Americans.

Invasive Species Flashcards

*when printing flashcards, ensure printer settings are to print on both sides, and to flip along short side

Featured native plant of the month

Huckleberry- Vaccinium Membranaceum

Huckleberry actually refers to several species of plants with small berries. In North America, the name was applied to various Gaylussacia species, and some Vaccinium species. Four species of huckleberries in the genus Gaylussacia are common in eastern North America, especially the black huckleberry. From Coastal California through Oregon and up to British Columbia, the red huckleberry is found. This species along with several others grows in various habitats such as mid alpine regions, mountain slopes, forests, and lake basins. The plant grows best in damp, acidic soil and can grow to 2 meters tall atop shallow radiating roots.

Huckleberry was one of the only plant species to survive the eruption of Mount St. Helens and has since existed as a prominent mountain slope bush since.

Huckleberries were traditionally collected by Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest for food and its medicinal purposes. The berries are small and round, and may look like large dark blueberries. They have a tart taste, with a taste similar to blueberries especially in the blue-purple colored varieties. Aside from humans, a variety of animals have incorporated huckleberries into their diet. Deer and elk, black bear, beaver, marmot, and many other small mammals and birds will commonly eat the berries.

Conservation related environmental classes will begun being taught at the Dayton schools, starting this September. Lessons will range from riparian plant and animal ecology, geology and soil science, orienteering, and other fun topics!

Related Links

Native Plants supporting biodiversity- Click Here

Native plants and pollinators/ agriculture – Click Here

Why natural wildfires are necessary- Click Here